“It’s hard to find community,” they say. I sit across from them at Starbucks or at my dining table and listen to them share about the difficulty of finding people they connect to, people with whom they can build a solid friendship and grow together in faith. “They” have been college students, single young adults, and married couples. “They” have been both laypeople and staff members, newcomers and long-standing members of the church.
I’ve wondered why this is the case for so many of us, why it’s so hard to find the community we all long for, and over time, I noticed several patterns in our expectations of church and in our relationship with her.
A couple of weeks ago I stepped down as an associate pastor at our church to prepare for our move out of state. It’s the first time being a full-time stay-at-home mom with no meetings to attend, no sermons to prep, no ministry or work obligations whatsoever. So how do I fill up this new space in my life? I cook. Instead of prepping for Sunday services, I plan for meals. Instead of having coffee dates with people, I shop for groceries with the intent of filling my family’s bellies and our fridge to bursting. I am becoming my mother, and I can’t help it…
“Confession has never been a feel-good word to me. I grew up in a Korean Presbyterian church, so confession often meant something along the lines of punishment, sinner, dirty, shame. Shame for the things we had done. Shame for the ways we had failed. Shame for not being able to overcome. Shame for even feeling shame. A prayer of confession ended with an amen drenched in guilt rather than freedom and forgiveness. We were taught to be tough, to have it all together, to cover up weakness, to confess our brokenness silently before God but not to one another.”